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You could do this through eJunkie, or all sorts of other sites: but because it's a great idea, I suspect Mark Coker won't take long to realize that something like this could be a great way to expand his own business as a distributor.  Done right, coordinating this could be a great revenue source for him.

Camille
 

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modwitch said:
Okay, I don't get it. Well, I sort of do - it's a nice way for readers to support indie bookstores. But at least in my town, most of the people who still go to indie bookstores don't eread. And people with ereaders don't go to bookstores. What would make them want to go to a bookstore now, vs. amazon (where they get an actual product description, instead of just a cover?)

At $0.36 a card (and that's if you order 1000), they're expensive to hand out as advertising (especially if you're selling a $0.99 book - not everyone will go collect the book, especially when they discover you have to know how to transfer a file to your ereader).

I can see doing a bigger display, with more information on the book, and then the cards. Maybe at indie bookstores, maybe at other local businesses and push the local author angle.

But most things sold on giftcards are commodities (minutes, credits, etc) or straight dollars, so you can do the actual choosing online or touching physical product.

It's a lot of hoops to jump through (go to the store, pick a book based on a card, go home and fiddle with your cables to get it onto your ereader vs. buy with 1-click on amazon). What's the upside for the reader?
A couple of points here:

First: as Dean said in his post, this is NOT for the 99 cent ebook, and probably not a good idea for the 2.99ers either. This really is for those who are pricing closer to $5 or above. (And frankly, I expect to see this from the publishers in the not too distant future.)

Second: Dean was inspired by the fact that not all gift cards are commodities any more. He was looking at a card which was specifically for one product when he got the idea. It's not much different than Amazon's gifting feature -- just a way to do it in person. A lot of people want to start giving more personal gifts again -- of books and music and such. (And given that even a $5 ebook is no more expensive than a greeting card .... which is another idea. Package this as a greeting card with a message and all.)

Third: there isn't a wall between paper book buyers and ebook buyers. A lot of us really miss bookstores, but we just don't want to buy the products they sell any more. Furthermore, I expect that brick and mortar booksellers will be more and more oriented toward gifts anyway. This would be a great way to bring ebooks into that fold.

But it does all go back to whether the audience is ready for it. Who knows? That gift card for WICKED which Kris and Dean found, we don't know that the effort succeeded, only that somebody is trying it. We'll see.

Camille
 

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modwitch said:
I could see it working for brand name authors, or $10 books. But honestly, at $3.99, with a book that appeals to a pretty wide audience, I'm not sure I see how this is cost effective.

I'd love to be wrong ;).
Agreed: this idea is for those who, like Dean, are ready to do retail distribution of physical objects, for a price which suits retail. I myself am more interested as a customer right now. I'd suggest that people read his "Think Like a Publisher" series completely before getting too excited. You not only have to get the physical printing and such done -- you also have to get the bookseller to carry your cards, and that is not going to be any easier than getting them to carry your physical BOOKS. (So you can start by following his instructions on that.)

I suspect that there will be distributors who start doing this -- just like the gift cards -- taking on products and putting them into displays they own. I think this is also something that Smashwords could do to expand their base. If Mark were to set up something like this (the way he does with affiliates), and the logistics just means a smaller cut... I'd sign up.

But generally, gift retail is a very tricky business, and that's what this would be. Small players are going to have distribution challenges -- but it's a great business to be in.

Camille
 

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marielamba said:
Thanks for this link. Very interesting!

Instead of just focusing on bookstores, which are businesses that traditionally expect to return stock that doesn't sell, I suggest we also think about other retailers, which, I believe, buy their stock outright. While it could potentially be a hard sell to a bookstore, a retailer that sells gift items and that ties into your book's theme (if your book has a local angle, or is centered around a hobby that the store caters to, etc.) may be more open to stocking these by the register as gift items/impulse buys.

It's certainly making me think!
Actually, small booksellers (and even big ones when it comes to non-book items or small press) buy their stock outright too. That's why it's critical to be able to give a large discount.

Camille
 
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